"The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever." Isaiah 40:8

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Australian Natives

This post has almost nothing to do with cards but I wanted to share some of my other passions with you - plants (and photography - but I'm working on those skills!) I love plants and really enjoyed the botany units that I did at university - loved learning the scientific names, different parts to a plant and how to work out what species they are from flowers / leaves!

We moved into our house here about 4 years ago and one of the first things I did was rip out most of the front garden (don't worry - it was nothing marvelous :-) ) In its place I planted Australian natives and some South African natives. They're mostly all from the same family, Proteaceae, with the Banksias and Grevilleas being Australian natives and the Protea and Leucadendrons being endemic to South Africa (although sometimes you find some Leucadendrons being sold as Australian natives).

One of the plants I put in was a Banksia ericifolia 'Red Rover' (a dwarf form of Banksia ericifolia). On the tag it said "prolific flowering"; however, it has taken 4 years to get one flower! So needless to say I was VERY excited to discover that the Banksia had finally decided to flower. It is a gorgeous flower and I really hope that I will see more in the years to come (I haven't given up hope yet!) Here is the flower:

Banksia ericifolia 'Red Rover'
This flower stands about 26 cm (10" tall)
I've since read that there are a few nutrients that I can add to the soil to maybe help with the flowering - I will give that a go and see if I get any more flowers!

I have a few more natives flowering in my garden at the moment (it's Autumn here and most of the other plants I have flower closer to Spring).

This one is a gorgeous little shrub that I grew myself from a cutting I took about 8 years ago! It is Correa pulchella (otherwise known as Pink Australian Fuchsia or Salmon Correa). It is meant to grow to about 1 m (3.3 ft) in height but mine is well above that and I think that's because it is supported by the Banksia that is it growing underneath.

Correa pulchella (Pink Australian Fuchsia)
Two photos: showing how the flower hangs on the shrub (left photo)
and what the flower looks like from underneath (right photo).
These flowers are only about 2 - 3 cm (1") long.
The more "spikey" looking leaves that you can see are from the Banksia ericifolia 'Red Rover'.
Another Australian native favourite of mine are Grevilleas. This first one is Grevillea fililoba 'Ellendale'. I love both the flowers and the leaves on this one. The leaves are actually the skinnier ones you can see at the top and top right of the photo (not the larger ones going across the middle of the photo - those belong to Grevillea 'Lemon Supreme' which is not in flower at the moment). This Grevillea is more of a climber than a shrub as it has branched itself across about 5 other plants in my garden... but I'm not going to chop it back... it still gives the other plants plenty of space and it flowers throughout most of the year :-)

Grevillea fililoba 'Ellendale'

The second Grevillea that is currently in flower is Grevillea 'Moonlight'. This one is a fast growing tree that flowers all year long! And as you can see the bees and ants love this one too.

Grevillea 'Moonlight'
This photo shows the 4 "stages" of the flower:
The buds (right at the bottom of the photo), the flower, the seeds (just below the flower)
and the "stick" that is left once all the seeds fall off (to the left of the flower).
(Although you can't actually "see" the seeds - they're inside the seed cases :-))
I then have quite a number of different Leucadendrons in my garden. They don't have a showy flower as such, but have coloured bracts (modified or specialised leaves). The flower is rather small and usually covered by the showy bracts and forms a hard cone once the flower is finished. The only one really in "flower" at the moment is Leucadendron 'Red Gem'. This one has gorgeous red bracts and really stands out against the green leaves of the surrounding plants. It also looks gorgeous when the sunrise light just touches the bracts :-)

Leucadendron 'Red Gem'
So I mentioned at the top of my post that this had almost nothing to do with cards :-) Well, I do want to mention some of my favourite flower stamps! Probably my favourite ones, and the ones I discovered first, are Flourishes floral stamps, particularly the ones drawn by Marcella Hawley. I especially love her "Bloomin' Aussie Florals" set as it has two Australian flowers - Golden Wattle and Sturt's Desert Rose. This is what the set looks like:

I was going to link it to the Flourishes website but it seems to have disappeared off there with only the cut files left. Perhaps because Marcella has started her own website and shop called Power Poppy?! I am so excited about this new adventure of Marcella's and am eagerly awaiting my first order from her store to arrive as I write this! 

I also love the flowers that Our Daily Bread Designs has on offer. Most are not native to Australia but I love to colour them with my Copics just the same :-) My two favourite flowers from their sets are the Lotus and Fuchsia. 


And I am sure there are many, many more wonderful flower stamps out there! Let me know what your favourite flowers and flower stamps are in the comments section!

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